Although we featured quite a lot of music, both new and old, this weekend, we’re far from exhausting our new discoveries. And so we begin the new week with a large collection of recently discovered songs. Most of these are ones that caught my eyes (and ears), and Austin Weber contributes one as well. Coincidentally, every band has a one-word name, which I find pleasing for reasons that make no sense at all.
I’ve been following Sweden’s Kall since mid-2013, initially because I learned that their line-up included members of the late lamented Lifelover, and later because I discovered how good their music is. I was a big fan of last year’s self-titled debut album (reviewed at length here), and I learned this weekend that the band are now working on their second full-length, projected for release before the end of this year via Catatonic State. There’s also a new song from the album available on Bandcamp — and it’s really good.
Slow and phantasmal, “Fall” creates a mood of wrenching desperation, which is heightened by the terrifying anguish of the vocals. Yet Kall remain masters of anchoring their moody music on repeating riffs and bass lines that get stuck hard in your head and then unfurling around them equally arresting streamers of guitar melody. This is a harrowing song, but a magnetic one, too.
Finland’s Solothus are another band whose past music I’ve enjoyed immensely. I reviewed their last album Summoned From the Void (2014) here, and now they too have a second full-length on the way, though Doomentia Records. Entitled No King Reigns Eternal, it’s now being mastered and therefore should be ready for release by year-end (actually, I have no idea when it will be released, that’s just wishful thinking).
The new song from the album that appeared yesterday is called “Malignant Caress”. Solothus bring the hammers of doom down with crushing weight in this onslaught, with the dirge-like opening giving way to gigantic chugging locomotion, the massive impact of the music made even more fearsome by the horror of the deep, malignant vocals. But it’s a haunting song as well, with eerie lead guitar melodies that drift and twist like wraiths. (Very cool extended guitar solo in this track, too.)
Tarnkappe are a Dutch black metal band whose debut album Tussen Hun En De Zon appeared in 2013. I learned about Tarnkappe through an acquaintance who’s a member of another very good Dutch black metal band (whose new album I will be reviewing this week). And yes, like the first two bands in this collection Tarnkappe have a second album coming our way, though it appears the band’s line-up has now become a duo (vocalist Sat and Nortfalke performing all instruments).
The name of the album is Winterwaker, and the first track from it (“Aleenheerser”) is now up on YouTube. The vibrating melody in the song is somehow both seething in its urgency and as bleak as a crypt. The gripping music ratchets the tension, infusing an atmosphere of despair with the heat of rage, made hotter still by the vocalist’s throat-tearing shrieks and impassioned proclamations (in Dutch).
I’ve started discovering so many songs from my Serbian friend “M“, including this next one, that you’re probably wondering what the fuck I do around here. Good question. Lemme get back to you.
The song’s name is “The Blackest Noose” and the band is Knives, who hail from the city of Bilbao in the Basque Country of Spain. And if, like me, you’re a fan of Swedish-style death metal, I think you’re going to like this. But this is the kind of death metal that rocks, the kind that pairs that distinctive chainsaw guitar tone and ghoulish atmosphere with crust/punk and good old rock ‘n’ roll. Fired up by raw, braying vocals, it’s a damned catchy song, despite the fact that it never throws off the heavy mantle of death.
Knives say on their Bandcamp page — where you can get this single for your very own — that they are working on their first release. Bravo — I’ll be waiting.
UPDATE: Knives have a couple more death rocking songs from the album on Soundcloud — “Spiritual Peace Through Spiritual War” and “Shitseer” — and they kick all kinds of ass, too. Now embedded below.
Credit goes to “M” for this next discovery, too. It’s a band from Gothenburg, Sweden, named Devation. When you come from Gothenburg and you play melodic death metal, as Devation do, you better have stepped your game way up. Judging from a song called “The Fixation”, which is the subject of an official video, they have.
It’s a hard-driving powerhouse of a song, with irresistible grooves and plenty of melodic hooks, and although the song is a real adrenaline surge, it maintains a satisfying aura of darkness. Very cool bass and guitar solos, and very good, acid-drenched, blood-spurting vocal intensity, too.
“The Fixation” comes from the band’s debut album Scorn Through An Absent Scene, which was released by Shunu Records last month and is available on Bandcamp (I’m including the album stream after the video).
(Austin Weber selected this next song and provides the following introduction.)
VOD is an experimental bass-guitar-focused one-man project by Dave Tremblay based out of Quebec that I’ve been familiar with for awhile. The bulk of the releases under the VOD umbrella tend to be abstract and almost work like layered soundscapes. So I was surprised when I heard the newest VOD song called “Harperia”. It’s only a single-song release, but it packs a whole lot of ideas in just under 5 minutes. And it comes with an additional 8-bit rendition of “Harperia” if you are into that kind of thing.
If you can imagine a mash-up between Unexpect and Strapping Young Lad being of interest to you, then I recommend checking this out. The song cycles through a lot of different moods and phases, but it’s the powerfully sung vocal melodies that really help take things to another level. I keep finding myself hearing them play out in my head, so it’s definitely infectious stuff!
As mentioned earlier, there’s no guitar on “Harperia”; the focus instead is on clean and distorted bass playing, although drums are also present. If you like what you hear, Dave Tremblay mentioned to me that this song is a proof-of-concept idea for how he wants to write a new album!
To wrap up this collection of new metal I bring you the debut demo by Exuvium from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I was drawn to Subarachnoid both by the cover art (created by the awesome Sam Nelson) and because the band’s line-up includes vocalist Jordan Dorge, who’s also the frontman of Wilt (if you don’t know about Wilt’s fine forthcoming new album, get yourself over here).
Subarachnoid was released earlier this month and it’s a three-song offering that you can get on Bandcamp (name your own price). It will take you less than nine minutes to consume (or be consumed by) this beast. The music is a form of high-speed, high-intensity brutal death metal that succeeds in combining skull-cleaving grooves, spidery guitar machinations, and a fine array of guttural gurgling and porcine squealing. I can imagine that when Exuvium kick into gear on stage, it’s a non-stop pit — or it damn well should be, because Subarachnoid is a guaranteed adrenaline rush as well as an irresistible headbang trigger.
Seriously, this is a powerhouse EP executed by people with obvious technical skill and a talent for writing songs that are interesting as well as decapitating.